Responding to Cardiac Arrest: A Real Life Experience

Responding to Cardiac Arrest

Author: Claudia Guarnaccia

Our mission at the Michael Hughes Foundation is to Turn Bystanders Into First Responders in medical emergencies. But what exactly does that mean? What is it like to be a first responder?

Neville Teague, one of our Board Directors, has had a personal experience with cardiac arrest and wants to share what he and his daughter Deb encountered during this devastating event. He suffered a cardiac arrest in March 2017. Thankfully, Deb was there to save his life and, fortuitously, had updated her first aid training only two weeks prior.

“As distressing as this event is for a bystander, it is pivotal to be a first responder, to act – you must do something” Deb recounts.

It began when Neville was cooking dinner for his daughter. He started to feel unwell suddenly.

“He had blacked out and collapsed on me.”

Deb recognised there was something wrong and laid him flat on the floor. His colour began to change, he began to groan, and his jaw locked. Deb knew she had to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and told Siri to call triple zero (000) to receive support during this traumatic experience. She ended up performing CPR on her father for ten minutes before an ambulance arrived.

“I wasn’t going to let him die on me, that’s for sure.”

During a cardiac arrest, the patient collapses and loses consciousness. If they are lucky enough to be the one in ten people to survive a cardiac arrest, they can generally recall blacking out when they collapse but fail to remember what happened. As the patient is not conscious, they are not in any pain nor can they recall the event afterwards.

Now, Neville has an implanted cardioverter defibrillator that monitors his heart rhythm. He is a long standing Director of the Michael Hughes Foundation and a living example of what is possible when people act. He is passionate to further spread the Foundation’s mission, advocacy work and services.

“Deb saved my life. Every second counts during a cardiac arrest. Don’t be afraid and have a go. CPR saves lives; I’m living proof! I’m a really lucky bloke.”

This year has seen some high profile cases of cardiac arrest in the media, including former Yellow Wiggle Greg Page who survived a cardiac arrest in January, and cricket commentator Dean Jones who sadly passed away in September aged 59.

If you would like to be skilled in first aid like Deborah and ensure you can be the best possible first responder for someone you love, consider updating your skills with the Michael Hughes Foundation. Click here for our range of our accredited first aid courses.

Watch Our First Responder Video Series Here.

The Whittley Club of NSW Inc obtained a defibrillator through NSW Office of Sport grant program.  The assistance I received from Julie and the organisation was fantastic!  MHF helped guide me through the necessary paperwork and provided our members with thorough training in the use of the equipment.

- Narelle Baglin, Treasurer, Whittley Club NSW Inc.

Our CPR refresher course was great, and Kevin is just awesome! I don’t think we would want anyone else but Kevin from now on, we feel spoilt!

- Baber Rasheed, Community First Step, Fairfield

I just completed my HLTAID003 Provide First Aid course. It was the best first aid training I have ever done. Charnan is a fantastic trainer with such a wealth of experience.

- Karen Hope, General Manager People, Culture and Youth Programs, PCYC NSW

Since 2016, Stellar Learning has used Michael Hughes Foundation for all our first aid training. Our trainer Kevin is amazing… Not only does he do First Aid courses, he is a paramedic and very hands on. Kevin explains things in an easy manner and helps everyone throughout the course. I would recommend him and the Foundation to any business wanting to host a first aid course.

- Liv Taylor, Stellar Learning Group

Thank you MHF! Your first aid and CPR training were fantastic. We love your presenters because they always make the training so interesting for our staff by sharing real life knowledge and experience. Keep up the great work.

- Michelle Hanley, Risk Manager & State Member Protection Officer, Football NSW

The impact on each parent that has attended this course is immeasurable. The participants now have the skills to be able to stay calm and administer First Aid if faced with an emergency. This training has also enabled the participants to update skills for work or to help secure employment.

- Catherine Gregory, Hilltop Road Public School
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